Not about the AFC but about advocacy for a project

Dear Editor,

The letter published on September 6 in Stabroek News captioned ‘The argument advanced against the AFC were premised on a false statement’ written by Mr Dominic Gaskin, Treasurer and Executive Member of the Alliance For Change deserves a response. It is our understanding that it was an exchange between individuals on ideas and not about any organization, but Mr Gaskin took it upon himself to wrap himself in the AFC flag. The title of the letter tells us that he speaks on behalf of the AFC on the flawed Amaila project.

We believe that this is not about the AFC, it is about Mr Gaskin’s opaque advocacy for a project when even the Chairman of the AFC confessed in the AFC column in KN on September 8, 2013 that “The AFC believes that this Project was handled badly from the inception, with no formal project document being laid in the National Assembly, and no attempt made to seek early political consensus.”  The AFC chairman’s statement has made it very clear that Mr Gaskin is speaking blindly on a project he knows very little about and has broken ranks with his party.  In doing so, he has damaged his party’s reputation and image with the public. Is this what Mr Gaskin wants for the AFC with his public support for the flawed Amaila project ‒ a project that was ill-conceived from the inception?

He is even willing to engage in spurious personal attacks which all serve as a smokescreen as he pushes the now famous PPP propaganda line, which sounds as if the now dead Brassington deal was good for Guyana.  His misinformed position has actually taken votes from the AFC. Many are asking the question, who does Mr Gaskin really represent in Guyanese politics, the masses or his business colleagues in the Private Sector Commission?

As long as Mr Gaskin or any entity with which he is associated project that this deal was good for Guyana, they would not be taken seriously in the upcoming local government elections, and the results will reveal whether the Guyanese people are willing to take Mr Gaskin as a serious member of the AFC. Time will tell. Either way, Mr Gaskin has made it very clear that he does not pander to polls, because his position is that he is prepared for increases in electrical tariffs to have hydropower.

We have been the strongest advocates for the AFC over the years, when the AFC fair weather writers like Mr Gaskin, were having their beauty sleep.  Is he telling the nation that the AFC is above criticism?  If that is the case, he would fit neatly into the PPP cabal’s camp.  The fact remains that the AFC made a mistake on the motion to increase the debt ceiling since it sent the wrong message to the nation that the AFC was supporting this deal, hence the public perception that the “AFC sell out to the PPP.”

The AFC has, however, ably explained itself through its Chairman and thus we all are better informed that the party was not satisfied with the lack of transparency over Amaila’s contract ‒ which remains a big secret ‒ and the PPP’s failure to share pertinent information with the opposition on this deal. Even though the AFC’s support for the motion was designed to drive the conclusion of the IDB study to provide information on key questions that still remain unanswered and as a basis to re-negotiate this project to get the best deal for Guyana, yet the public did not see it that way.

However, this letter is not about the AFC and perhaps this is where Mr Gaskin’s confusion lies; it is about his willingness to find ink to battle forces like ourselves who are favourable to the AFC, but loses his ink in the battle against the PPP and people like Yusuf, the AFC Region 6 Councillor. The information now emerging from the accountant specialists, Chris Ram and Ramon Gaskin and the esteemed economics Professor, Dr Clive Thomas, reveals that Mr Gaskin’s views on the Amaila project are wrong.

Yours faithfully,
Asquith Rose
Harish S Singh

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